April 28, 2015

Isaac Herbert Kempner (1873-1967)

I. H. Kempner, millionaire investor and one of the originators of the commission form of city government, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the oldest son of eleven children of Elizabeth (Seinsheimer) and Harris Kempner. His father had emigrated from Poland, worked as a day laborer in New York, and eventually gone into the cotton warehouse business in Galveston. Kempner attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia until his father's death in 1894 forced him to drop out at age twenty-one and take over the family enterprises. He and his brother Daniel expanded the Kempner cotton business and branched out into real estate speculation. Kempner was elected a director of the Galveston Cotton Exchange and served continuously as either director, president, or vice president of that organization for nearly fifty years. He served as Galveston finance commissioner from 1901 to 1915 and as mayor from 1917 to 1919. In 1906 he and W. T. Eldridge acquired a 12,000-acre sugar mill, plantation, and refinery in Sugar Land. They operated under various names from that time, continually expanding their control over the sugar-refining industry, until they held a virtual monopoly by the 1930s. After Eldridge's death in 1932 the Kempners consolidated this venture under family ownership and the name Imperial Sugar Company. Kempner and his youngest brother, Stanley, also took over the Texas Prudential Insurance Company. The brothers were active in banking and held a controlling interest in United States National Bank in Galveston, where Lee Kempner was CEO. In 1902 Kempner married Henrietta Blum; they had five children. Kempner died on August 1, 1967, in Galveston and was buried in the Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery there. Source

29° 17.566
-094° 48.841

Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery

April 21, 2015

Patrick Churchill Jack (1808-1844)

Patrick Churchill Jack, attorney and legislator, was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, in 1808, a son of Patrick Jack, who commanded a Georgia regiment in the War of 1812. After practicing law in Jefferson County, Alabama, for three years, Jack moved to Texas in 1830 and on April 6, 1831, was issued title to one-fourth of a league of land in Stephen F. Austin's second colony in the area of present Grimes County. Jack, one of the men whose imprisonment led to the Anahuac disturbances in the spring of 1832, was a delegate from the district of Liberty to the conventions of 1832 and 1833. He later moved to Brazoria Municipality, which he represented in the House of the Second Congress of the Republic from September 29, 1837, to November 13, 1838. Jack married Margaret E. Smith at Houston on October 30, 1838. He was appointed district attorney of the First Judicial District on February 1, 1840, and of the Sixth District on March 15, 1841, by President Mirabeau B. Lamar. Jack died of yellow fever in Houston on August 4, 1844, and was buried in the City Cemetery under the auspices of Holland Masonic Lodge No. 1, of which he was a member. Later his remains were removed to Lake View Cemetery, Galveston. They were again exhumed on February 10, 1942, and reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin. In the act of the state legislature on August 27, 1856, establishing Jack County from Cooke County, it is not stated for whom the county was named. Homer S. Thrall in 1879 said it was named for the brothers, Patrick C. and William H. Jack, and this statement is generally accepted as correct. Source

30° 15.915
-097° 43.620

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

April 14, 2015

Charles Bellinger Tate Stewart (1806-1885)

Charles Stewart, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 6, 1806, to Charles and Adrianna (Bull) Stewart. He studied medicine in the early 1820s, and after 1825 he worked as a druggist in Columbus, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina; he subsequently resided in Cuba for a few months and conducted a trading partnership. He returned to South Carolina and received his license in pharmacy in June 1829. Stewart then moved to New Orleans and worked as a coffee merchant. He moved to Texas in the spring of 1830 and operated an apothecary shop in Brazoria. In June 1832, during the Anahuac Disturbances, Stewart joined Francis W. Johnson's command and fought at the battle of Velasco. He was later appointed to the Subcommittee of Safety and Vigilance of the Brazoria District by the Convention of 1832. In November 1834 Stewart was appointed secretary of the judicial district of Brazos.

In the spring of 1835 he moved to San Felipe de Austin and opened a drugstore. On May 4, 1835, he obtained a license to practice medicine in Texas. On July 17, as secretary for the Austin delegation, Stewart attended a meeting with representatives of Columbia and Mina to discuss the capture Antonio Tenorio's troops by William B. Travis's troops at Anahuac. On October 11 Stewart was elected secretary of the Permanent Council. On November 11 he was appointed by the General Council as enrollment clerk and secretary to the executive, thus becoming in effect the first Texas secretary of state. Stewart and Thomas Barnett were elected to represent Austin at the Convention of 1836. On March 2, 1836, Stewart signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. He moved to Montgomery in 1837, established a medical practice, and opened a drugstore. In 1839 he served on the committee appointed by the Third Congress of the republic to design a new state flag. Stewart is credited with drawing the original draft of the Lone Star flag. On March 5, 1840, he was appointed district attorney pro tem of Montgomery County, and President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed him notary public on May 11, 1841. Stewart represented Montgomery County at the Constitutional Convention of 1845. He also represented Montgomery County in the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth legislatures. Stewart married Julia Sheppard in March 1835, and the couple had five children. After the death of his first wife he married Elizabeth Antoinette Nichols Boyd. They had two children, and he also adopted her two children from a previous marriage. Stewart died on July 2, 1885, and was buried in the Montgomery Cemetery. Source

30° 23.221
-095° 42.215

New Cemetery

April 7, 2015

Thomas Henry Borden (1804-1877)

Thomas Henry Borden, early settler, soldier, and inventor, son of Gail and Philadelphia (Wheeler) Borden, Sr., was born in Norwich, New York, on January 28, 1804. After a boyhood in New York, Kentucky, and Indiana, he joined Stephen F. Austin's colony in Texas in 1824 as one of the Old Three Hundred. In 1830 he was Austin's official surveyor, a post he later resigned in favor of his brother, Gail Borden, Jr. In 1833 T. H. Borden was farming near Tenoxtitlán, but by 1835 he had moved to Fort Bend. During November and December 1835 he participated with the Texas army in the Grass Fight and the siege of Bexar under Benjamin R. Milam. In October 1835 he helped Gail Borden and Joseph Baker found the Telegraph and Texas Register. He remained with that paper until March 14, 1837, when he sold his interest to Dr. Francis Moore, Jr. In October 1836 Borden helped lay out the city of Houston, and the following year he entered the real estate business in Columbia, sometimes in partnership with Erastus (Deaf) Smith and sometimes with Robert D. Johnson. He was active in founding the town of Richmond, and as late as 1873 still owned much land in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties. In 1840 Borden was living in Galveston, engaged principally in surveying and butchering. He constructed the first windmill on Galveston Island and ran it in combination with the first local gristmill. At his home the first Baptist church in Galveston was organized, on January 30, 1840. Like his brother Gail he had a gift for invention; he is sometimes credited with inventing the terraqueous machine often attributed to his brother. In Galveston he invented a steam gauge, or manometer, for use on river steamboats. In 1849 he moved to New Orleans, where he had an excellent business. According to tradition, he did not believe in the principle of patents; so other gauge manufacturers patented his product and eliminated him from competition. On June 4, 1829, Borden married Demis Woodword, who bore him two sons before her death in Houston on September 16, 1836. He married Louisa R. Graves of New York in 1838. Loss of his steam-gauge business, Civil War losses, and the protracted illness of his wife reduced Borden to comparative poverty in the late 1860s and necessitated his moving back to Galveston, where he died on March 16, 1877. Source

29° 17.640
-094° 48.835

Evergreen Cemetery